Australian Church Unifies Local Community Through New Mobile App

Centrepoint Church in suburban Perth, Australia, didn’t get its name by accident.

When Joel and Sharon Chelliah started the church in 2006, Western Australia, the state where Perth is located, had been experiencing heavy growth thanks largely to a mining boom in the region. The influx of people in Perth meant that many residents were far away from friends and family. That’s why Centrepoint wanted to bring people together from the very beginning

“We aim to be a family church, a multi-generational church that brings people together,” said Peter Hammer, the church’s executive pastor. “We want to be a center point in the community.”

To put that vision into practice, the church started a free community breakfast held during the Christmas season, providing much-needed company for residents who weren’t able to celebrate with family. They also started connect groups throughout the community where people are able to eat together, bond, and study biblical truths from the weekend message. The church also takes shower trucks to the impoverished and homeless in their community, providing an opportunity for those with few resources to get refreshed and connect with church members.


Spreading Out Across Western Australia

It hasn’t taken long for Centrepoint to expand their vision of bringing people together throughout the Perth community. By 2010, four years after the church began, Centrepoint launched a second campus. Today they have a total of four campuses.

In early 2018, Pastors Joel and Sharon launched a new initiative to reach their state of Western Australia. The largest Australian state in terms of landmass, much of it is sparsely populated. Many smaller communities throughout the region have little access to a church body. With the same passion to unify people around the gospel, the church launched an initiative to open campus extensions in small communities throughout Western Australia.

“We’re creating ‘church in a box’ and appointing local people in country towns, whom we can provide with everything they need to run church from a living room or a small community hub,” Peter says.

Centrepoint started its first such extension site in March of 2018 on the edge of rural Western Australia. Around 12 people currently attend the extension site. Two people, neither of whom had been in church for years, made lifelong commitments to faith. The church expects this extension to be the first of many to spread throughout this rural area.


Leaning Into Technology

As the church continues to spread out geographically, church leaders are leaning into technology to help build lasting community around the gospel. Meaningful connections through technology are especially important when physical interactions aren’t always possible among members.

“We want to use technology to bring a greater sense of connection,” Peter says. “In the last 12 months, we’ve started live streaming our worship services so that, at least once a month, all of our people can hear the same visionary message from our senior pastor. We couldn’t create that kind of connection without technology.”

That desire to use technology to unify people across large geographic distances led the church to look into getting a mobile app.

“We wanted to create a common go-to point where anyone could access things like podcasts, event registrations, signup for volunteering and connect groups, and giving all on one app.” Peter says.

Another church recommended that Centrepoint consider Pushpay as their app provider. When they began looking for an app last year, the church already had three campuses and a fourth about to open within two months. Any new app provider would have to make the experience seamless between the multiple campuses while providing a top-notch user experience. Pushpay was the only provider who could truly do both and was added to the church’s technology toolkit.

Centrepoint began spreading the word about the new app in January, two months before they planned to launch it. But the church didn’t just pitch the app as a bit of cool tech. Instead, the new app would be a strategic part of the church’s mission to bring people together and expand geographically. The church officially launched the app in March as part of a conference that brought all of the church campuses together.

“I was given three minutes to share the vision for the app,” Peter says. “I told them how to download it. The senior pastor introduced me. Having the senior pastor really drive it from the stage, and being able to launch it at such a big event, and having all of our schedules for the conference on the app really helped us get people to download and use the app right away.” Since Pushpay has a text-to-download feature, it made the process really easy.

In the months since the church launched the app, users have raved about the experience—particularly the app’s ease of use. Although the church initially partnered with Pushpay to get the mobile app, the giving solution has been a welcomed surprise.

“People keep telling me how much they love how easy it is to give regularly through the app,” Peter says.

With a new church app in place, Centrepoint is looking toward the future and engaging communities in Western Australia that wouldn’t otherwise have a church presence. Click here to talk to an expert and see how a custom church app and giving tool can encourage engagement and generosity at your ministry.

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